The past ten days have been such a treat for me, getting to spend a free trip in Michigan with my family, with my coworker, and hitting some of my favorite places. We got to make the trip out because of our persistence to spend our time recruiting around the state universities. After much planning and coordination we were off to Michigan.
I flew on the red-eye on Valentine’s Day night, not ideal, but it got me better adjusted to EST sooner, I was still able to have my Valentine’s dinner with the boy (he made me salmon and chocolate chip cookies) and I was greated by my lovely parents at the Detroit airport early Saturday morning. By Saturday evening I already thought I was losing my voice after a lengthy brunch at Soup Spoon Cafe (love their Yooper Bennie) and then off to Grandma’s to celebrate Dad’s 60th birthday with the whole family. By Dad’s choice was pot roast and German chocolate cake. It was delicious and I stayed up until 1am with Grandma and Jerry catching up.
Sunday morning I slept in before having breakfast at Gma’s house. Mom came to pick me up for a bite to eat at Houlihan’s before catching the end of a horrendous display by the UM basketball team. Mom and I got all dolled up with mani/pedis that was such a treat. We headed home to hang with Dad and Sophie, watch the Olympics and get take-out from Charlie Kang’s.
Monday began the whirlwind of Paul and my recruitment trip around the state of Michigan. We met at Dunkin Donuts before heading to Ann Arbor for our first info session at UM. With Jerusalem Garden catering we had a full house with about 18 students (a lot of grad students!) sitting in to listen. Every single person gave us their resume and we felt a lot better and more confident that this trip was going to be worth it. After getting some Middleeastern we set off for the long drive to Houghton in the U.P. We stopped often for coffee, stopped and visited one of Paul’s friends from MTU, and had a great dinner of Michigan whitefish and roasted potatoes at Hudson’s Classic American Diner in Marquette. The roads were bad the last few hours of the drive and we finally pulled into the Super 8 on Keweenaw Bay just before midnight.
Tuesday began with a crappy hotel breakfast before going to the Michigan Tech gym to set up our booth for their Engineering career fair. We won for best display. Just before noon we got an exciting lunch of beef pasties to fill us up (like a rock) before spending six hours standing and talking to students…really losing our voices. We had a line waiting to talk to us the entire six hours. Oh, and SME and Scott were two booths down from our set-up. Ironic. Paul and I couldn’t rest after the career fair because we had another info session at 7pm that we had been telling all of the students about throughout the day. We picked up a party platter from Jimmy Johns and gave our spheel a second time for the students. Again it was a hit and when we finally got to the Keweenaw Brewing Company (KBC) around 8:30 we were so ready for a brewskie and were again surrounded by students who had been in our presentation. But it was a great time. I challenged Paul to drink all 10 of the beers on tap. He made it through 7 pints but the brewery had to close on us at 10pm. I sampled their porter, their stout, and another dark beer and all were fantastic…and all only $2.50. We stopped by one more bar for a shot of Snowshoe (peppermint schnapps and Yukon Whiskey Jack) before hitting the hay at 1am.
Wednesday I decided to take an easy morning which almost came to bite us in the behind. I soaked in the hot tub for 15 minutes, checked emails, got a quick bite to eat, and then we hit the road. We knew we were running late as soon as we got to Marquette, with a long drive still ahead of us to get to Big Rapids and Ferris State by 6pm for our third info session. We stopped at a (very good and huge) Chinese buffet in Marquette to fill up on two plates of food as fast as we could. $16 total, amazing!! We then booked it. We made it to Big Rapids 2 minutes after 6pm with 20 all-male construction management students waiting for us and our presentation. No problem, they got plates of Jet’s Pizza while we set up the presentation and again were shown interest in what we had to say. Fantastic and totally unexpected. We drove the last 1.5 hours to East Lansing where Mom and Dad had Aladdin’s waiting for me and more Olympics to watch. I was so tired!
Thursday morning I was finally able to take my time getting ready for the day ahead. Mom treated me with a Biggby latte and I showed her the presentation that we had now given three times. Paul picked me up around noon to head over to the Engineering Building on MSU’s campus for their Engineering Expo. We set up our display like before and awaited the students’ bombardment, which came, but thankfully for only three hours this time. We had our last presentation just thirty minutes after the Expo was over so we packed up all of our things and headed to the classroom where this time we had about 40 students looking on, we were speaking at the MSU’s chapter of ASCE. By this time Paul and I had our presentation down and it went really smooth. I was so ready to celebrate the completion of our grand tour. We met up with Mom and Dad at El Azteco for margarita pitchers and topoppo salad. It was so delicious and we all were in good spirits that we were now free.
Friday was an awesome day with doing hot yoga with Mom (and it felt so good), getting salads and smoothies at the Leaf cafe down the street, visiting with Dad and then going to the Fork in the Road Diner for my first time. We shared the crispy ruttabega, the fried chicken and the lamb dish. The ruttabega was interesting and unique. The fried chicken was probably the best I have ever had, not greasy, perfectly crispy, plus spinach, yogurt, and hot sauce to accompany it, fantastic!!! The lamb was tough and grisly and a bit of a letdown but the pureed chickpeas and roasted beets were very nice. We tried to get to a jazz concert but unfortunately the show as sold out so we headed to Kroger for snacks like Bryan and I would on a lazy night. Great Friday night!
Saturday was also a slow morning, which was nice. The three of us finally made it to Court One for a refreshing workout, picked up Lou and Harry’s on the way home, and then I got ready to head to Ann Arbor as I had plans to go out with my brother. Mom and I stopped for coffees and then shopped at Ann Taylor. I then met up with Chad and we headed to a late dinner at MANI Osteria and Bar that I thought was exceptional. Chad and I split the fritti (amazing cauliflower and hot peppers fried to perfection and topped with vinegar and bacon jam), the meatballs, and a pasta of rolled noodles in a veal sugo with mushrooms and brussel sprouts. Exceptional when paired with a glass of Sangiovese. We then went back to Chad’s pad to pregame with his roommates and friends. I rolled with the Fireball Whiskey on ice. We stopped by an interesting Co-Op party before heading to one of my past favorites, Charlie’s. We had a couple shots and just generally had a good time talking and joking around. It was fun to be back in the Ann Arbor nightlife but also made me appreciate not being in college anymore.
Sunday morning began with the UM vs. MSU basketball game. Chad and I walked to the stadium to meet up with Mom and Dad. UM struggled pretty bad the whole first half but then turned it around and got it together to come back and win the game. It was a lot of fun and I always like watching a good basketball game. After the game we headed to the Blue Tractor for sweet potato fries and coffee for me before then heading over to the new tapas joint, Aventura, across the street. Mom and Dad and I shared the Suckling Pig platter with three dipping sauces, brussel sprouts, spinach with raisins and pinenuts, and potatoes with paprika and another tapa of octopus with potatoes. The churros topped it all off with three dipping sauces of dark chocolate, vanilla cream, and a salted caramel sauce. These were fresh and hot and so deliciously cinnamony. Mom and Dad then had to say their goodbyes to me which is always so sad. I went back to Chad’s place to do some work and try to get to bed early. Not that easy with a house full of guys. I probably woke up 10 times during the course of the night for some reason or other and woke bright and early to take the shuttle to the Detroit airport with the parents of the new Michigan quarterback who were both flying back to Richmond, Virginia. I spent a long day in the Salt Lake City airport after receiving a $600 flight voucher for taking another flight. Not to shabby but so tired once back in Seattle!